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Ritual (2000)
"Shiki-Jitsu" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  7 December 2000 (Japan)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,267 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 3 critic

A disillusioned filmmaker has an encounter with a young girl who has a ritual of repeating "Tomorrow is my birthday" everyday. He tries to communicate with her through his video camera

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: Ritual (2000)

Ritual (2000) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Director
Shinobu Ôtake
Suzuki Matsuo ...
Man (voice)
Megumi Hayashibara ...
Woman (voice)
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Storyline

A disillusioned filmmaker has an encounter with a young girl who has a ritual of repeating "Tomorrow is my birthday" everyday. He tries to communicate with her through his video camera

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based on novel

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Drama

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Release Date:

7 December 2000 (Japan)  »

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Ritual  »

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2.35 : 1
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Trivia

Shiki-jitsu is based on the autobiographical nouvella "Tohimu" written by Ayako Fujitani (who plays the leading role). See more »

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User Reviews

 
For fans of poetry. Everyone else will be disappointed.
11 June 2006 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

When I say this movie is for "fans of poetry", I mean simply that it is for people who enjoy delving into the subtlety and brevity of thoughts, for people who enjoy symbolism and are unafraid to dive into a challenging puzzle of seemingly disjoint ideas, for people who can appreciate the fantasy in--as Anno puts it--"the ennui of everyday life".

And if you were bored by the first sentence of my review, then you're probably not the person I'm describing. If you haven't guessed, I'm trying to scare off most of the crowd. ;)

Yes, people who rely heavily on plot shouldn't bother. But I'm not saying that this film lacks in plot. On the contrary, it has one of the most complicated plots if you manage to piece it together. This is not a movie to be taken lightly, and its beauty & meaning runs not on the surface but somewhere deep beneath--as in the movie where her innermost thoughts are stashed away in the "secret basement" of a 7-story building.

I would compare this movie to Fellini, Godard and Tarkovsky--except that I generally don't like any of those directors at all. In this case, however, Hideaki Anno is able to take all the brilliant elements of those classic directors and fuse it with vivid colours, imagery, a spectacular dialogue, and phenomenal acting, which is something those European directors may have overlooked in their unidirectional approach to "New Wave" cinema back in the 60s-70s. This is a film unlike any I have ever seen, because it challenges the mind while keeping the senses alive. It can be taken either philosophically or simply as a feast for the eyes, whichever you like.

The dialogue, which I've already mentioned, bears further mentioning. Unfortunately I had to rely on the English subtitles, but even that was a work of literature. It's as if the philosophical works of Confucious, Descartes and Kant had been given a real-world, human voice. Heady stuff. And the script is expertly delivered by Ayako Fujitani in a performance that ranks up there with the best portraits of creeping madness I've ever seen.

On a final note, I just want to touch on the ending--don't worry I won't ruin a thing. I've read some criticism; apparently people have been disappointed. I admit that I, too, had been expecting something different. But now, having watched the film several times over (a requirement!), I see that the ending couldn't have been more perfect. I can't find a single flaw in this movie. 10/10.


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